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7 Reasons Internal Link Structure of Your Website Matters for SEO

What kind of tools do you give your website visitors to find more relevant information on your website other than the first page they land on? Are the Search Engines finding every page on your website and understanding how your pages are related?

Internal link structure can address both of these issues, plus others. When we talk about internal link structure we are referring to the links within one page’s content that lead site visitors to other pages of the website with similar or related content. Not only do these links help visitors but there is also value in internal link structure for SEO.

What is Link Structure in SEO?

Before we go further into why internal link structure of a website matters, let’s first talk about link structure for SEO. Links are one of the most important factors that Search Engines like Google look at when deciding how to rank your website. An internal link is simply a link on your website page that goes to another website page on your website. These internal links help both your visitors navigate through your website and help the Search Engines establish your Site architecture or hierarchy, which is how your pages are related. If needed, review How the Search Engines View Linking before continuing on.

Here are 7 ways the hyperlinks and link structure of your website can help improve your SEO, visitor behavior, website rankings.

1. Link Structure Creates Ease of Access

A visitor lands on one of your site pages. After skimming or thoroughly reading the content, they may want more information. Providing links within the content directly to similar or supporting documentation makes it easy for them to maneuver around your site based on their needs. Learn more on how SEO and User Experience Work Together.

2. Link Structure Helps Googles Crawlers Find All Website Pages

Websites with poor internal link structures can be more difficult for crawler bots to follow. Providing internal links between pages makes it easier for Search Engine crawlers to analyze your website and index/rank all your pages. New pages can compel the bot to crawl them, and also re-crawl the accompanying pages to which you have linked. Learn more by reading Understanding Crawl Budgets and How to Increase Your Website Crawl Budget with Google.

3. Link Structure Increases Page Strength

Links pointing to your site from authoritative websites can improve your ranking. That is what we refer to as an external link or a backlink. Visitors who arrive through these external links may choose to then follow your internal links to other pages on your website. Theoretically, your internally linked pages from the original page can benefit by accumulating more exposure and potentially acquire direct links of their own.

4. Link Structure Utilizes Anchor Text

The anchor text you use for the link indicates to the visitor what the page is about and can have some SEO benefit for when the Search Engines crawl the page. Make sure your anchor text is relevant to the content found on the subsequent page. Using the page title or a relevant keyword phrase can be useful and easily understandable. You can find more details in the article What Does it Take to Rank #1 on Google?

5. Link Structure Points Upward and Non-Circular

In general, a best practice for SEO is to have your internal links point upward to their parent page. In this way, you are pushing link juice or link credit from pages deep within your site to your main pages. For example, on a renovation company’s website they may have their Kitchen Renovations page link to their Home Renovations page which then links to their Homepage.

Another best practice is to avoid circular internal linking that can cause the visitor to click in circles and get frustrated. This circular linking can also cancel out the link juice you are trying to structure.

6. Link Structure Requires Review and Updating

Run a quick link structure analysis and examine the status of internal links from existing site pages. Make sure that these links:

  • Are still active – do not 404, do not rely on a 301 redirect.
  • Are still relevant – have current pricing, product features, service list, etc.
  • Are still the most useful page on the site – have you since created a better more useful page?

Update old links with new links to more current content, and similarly connect your latest content to your more dated pieces, rejuvenating interest in them. If you are thinking of updating or changing link structure soon be sure to read the article Top 8 Ways to Rejuvenate Old SEO Content for New Exposure.

7. Link Structure Relies on Content

How many links you should provide from one page to another is going to depend on the length of the original page, and the number of suitable pages to which you can link. Do some internal research before you post the item and arrive at a number that makes sense for your readership.

A Little Link Structure Optimization Goes a Long Way!

Remember:

  1. Users have a much better experience on websites that provide relevant internal links from one page to another.
  2. Effective link descriptions (anchor text) make users aware of where they are going and can help with SEO.
  3. Internal link structure helps Search Engine robots find all the pages on your site, preventing any “orphaned” or unlinked pages.

For more information on link structure for your website contact 1st on the List today at 1-888-262-6687 or contact@1stonthelist.ca.

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Understanding Crawl Budgets and How to Increase Your Website Crawl Budget with Google

Google admitted in their Webmaster Central Blog on January 16, 2017, that they don’t have an official “crawl budget definition”, indicating that a single term would not suffice. They went on to indicate that they would clarify what they actually have and what it means for Googlebot.

In this article, we will explore what Google has told us about site crawl budget and how it operates.

What is Crawl Budget?

As an SEO, when we talk about crawl budget we are referring to the resources Google will allocate to crawling (or discovering) the pages on your website. The budget could be determined by number of pages and or the time Google will spend crawling. That’s right – Google has limits on how long and how many pages of your website they will crawl!

Should I Be Concerned About My Site Crawl Budget?

For pages crawled on a daily basis, Crawl Budget is not a high priority concern for websites with fewer than 1,000 URLs. As long as there isn’t anything blocking Google out of the site there shouldn’t be issues crawling these pages.

Google stresses that website crawl budgets are more improtant for larger sites.

What are Google’s Limits to Site Crawl Rates?

Crawling is a priority, but Google claims it does so without degrading user experience on the site, instituting crawl rate limits for given sites to minimize that possibility. They define crawl rate limits as the number of simultaneous connections used by Googlebot to crawl, and the wait-time between fetches.

What is Crawl Health?

On websites that respond rapidly to Google crawling its pages, the crawl limits go up, using more connections, and allowing Google to crawl and discover more and more pages. This allows Google to index and rank more and more pages.

For slower sites or those with server errors, the crawl limit is throttled back and fewer pages are crawled as the Googlebot has to wait longer to crawl each page.

Google also reminds website owners you can manually set limits for crawling inside your Google Search Console, but that setting higher limits does not mean they will automatically increase the crawl on your site.

How Frequently are Crawl Demands Made?

If there is little demand from indexing (even when peak crawl rates haven’t been reached) there will be little Googlebot crawl activity.

More popular URLs are usually crawled more consistently to keep Google’s index up-to-date, as another objective for the crawler is to prevent URLs from becoming stale.

Crawls can also be triggered if a website is moved and new URLs need to be re-indexed.

Ultimately, the rate and demand are what define a crawl budget in Google’s eyes.

6 Ways to Improve Your Website Crawl Budget According to Google

Google says that crawl rate is negatively affected by websites with numerous low-value-add pages and categorizes these types of websites into 6 main groups, listed by order of importance.

If your site is large enough to have a Crawl Budget, or if you want to prevent your site from falling under a Crawl Budget, address the following prioritized issues, as applicable.

1. Address URLs with naturally duplicated content.

Faceted navigation (ability to filter pages by price, colour, size, etc.) affects the crawl budget because they contain many combinations of a URL with duplicated content. These prevent Google from crawling new and unique content as quickly or index pages correctly as a result of diluted signals between versions that have been duplicated.

Session identifiers also fall under this list. User info and tracking information stored in these URLs cause duplicated content through the numerous URLs used to access a single page.

2. Minimize duplicate text content from page to page.

On websites with content duplicated across several pages, Google uses algorithms designed to prevent this duplicated content from adversely affecting user-experience or webmaster-experience. Here’s how Google deals with this duplicate content:

  1. When duplicate content is found, the URLs are grouped into a cluster.
  2. The best URL that represents the cluster is chosen and presented in search results.
  3. Properties such as link popularity within the cluster are consolidated and applied to the chosen URL that represents the cluster.

3. Mark old deleted pages with 404 Not Found response.

Crawl rate can be affected by soft error pages that occur when a server responds with a 200 OK response if a page does not exist instead of a 404 Not Found which is more appropriate. This limits site crawling because these old deleted pages might be crawled instead of other live pages on the site.

4.  Deal with any hacked website pages and content ASAP.

If your site has any hacked pages, well, just don’t expect Google to crawl it anytime soon.

5.  Make sure that each URL on your website has its own unique purpose.

Sites affectionately called infinite spaces (sites with an excessive number of URLs) are not high on Google’s list of crawlable content. Make sure that each page you want Google to crawl has its own unique purpose and message. What need does it meet for your visitor?

6. Purge any low quality or spam pages.

Pages containing low quality and spam are right up there with the hacked pages and will negatively affect the crawling rate of the site.

Google determines all six of these areas as a waste of their resources and delays them from discovering the great content of a website.

If you have any questions about Crawl Budget, whether or not your site contains any of the items that might negatively affect your crawl budget, give 1st on the List a call at 1-888-262-6687. You can also reach us through email at contact@1stonthelist.ca.

Learn more about How Search Engines Work to crawl, index, and rank your website!